Dalhousie Journal of Legal Studies


New communications technologies have emerged that involve the convergence of television, computer, cable, telephone and satellite. Proponents of these new technologies envision an explosion in the number of different channels which can offer programming. As well, convergence technology "is expected to make TV sets interactive, ushering in an era of 'pick-and-pay', do-it-yourself programming." This development has been described in the popular media as an "electronic highway." When such "highways" function as conduits of programming for the general public they are best characterized as broadcasting. The author situates broadcasting and convergence technologies within the broader constitutional framework under sections 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867 and concludes that without uniformity of law throughout the country, one province may fail to regulate such things as the maintenance of, or content of programming on, electronic highways. This would damage the effectiveness of the entire system, and would negatively impact users in other provinces. It is therefore essential to have uniform legislative treatment of new broadcasting technologies. Without such treatment, there is a danger that these technologies will develop in an incoherent manner and that Canadians may simply become "jaywalkers," rather than active and full participants on new information highways.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.